Once I'd finally finished the first cut of my book, I figured I was just about done. I mean, after all, I'd done a lot of editing as I was writing. I'm a little anal that way (actually, I'm a lot anal that way) and I can't really pick up where I left off without going back and re-reading and re-editing stuff I've already written.
So, by the time I got to the end the first time, I'd already done a lot of editing.
I figured I was nearly done. Practically finished.
(This is where you should shake your head back and forth with a knowing look while thinking, "That poor, poor boy. He really has no clue, does he?")
Over the course of the next 14 months, depending on how you count them, I did at least 8 full edits. That is, front to back, full printout, read the whole thing, mark it up like I've got stock in companies that manufacture red ink. The whole lot.
And, then fully update the book and make the changes, and rearrange the text, and add the new ideas, and re-write or delete whole sections. Heck, between the time the e-books were first made available and the paperback came out (the matter of a week or so), I did yet another full edit and deleted two whole chapters.
Somewhere in there, very late in the process, I even had a good friend who is even more anal about these things than I am do a slow and thoughtful edit of the thing.
What I know from all of that is I could probably edit it ten more times. I could probably edit it forever. But, at some point, you have to just pull the trigger. It is what it is.
At least, until the next revision...
Read More . . .
I started writing my book seven years ago, in 2005, with those nine words.
I felt the explosion before I actually heard it.
They were literally the first words I typed and, amazingly, after six years of admittedly on and off writing, and another fourteen months doing eight full edits of the book, that line is still the opening sentence.
Almost everything else has changed or been reworked or rearranged but that line has somehow remained both in place and intact.
It's still there, I guess, because I like they way it makes you say What explosion? and want to read just a teench further.
That's how it works for me, anyway.
I'm still learning how to write. That might sound funny to some who know me. I've published more than 70 articles in technical publications--hundreds of thousands of words--and I've written numerous white papers on racing and racing techniques. I write long and detailed (and, hopefully, interesting) recaps of racing weekends that read more like prose than reporting, but, well, there's still plenty of room for improvement even though I think my writing is not too bad these days.
That's one of the things I discovered over the long course of writing this book: That my writing style became better. It had more flow, and the ideas came out more easily, with more interesting sentences. After I'd finished, I found that when I read the book, the second half was a lot better than the first. Not the ideas, so much, but the way they were expressed. It was like you had to drag yourself a little bit through the first third of the thing and then suddenly it just grabbed you and took off.
So, of course, I rewrote the first half.
Read More . . .
As anyone unfortunate enough to be a Facebook friend of mine knows all too well, I recently published my first novel, Loss of Control. What they may or may not know is that I've gone the self-publishing route, meaning I don't have an agent or a "real" publisher. For now, at least.
I've done this for a couple of reasons but the most compelling of these, to me, is that I got tired of trying to find an agent. It turns out that the game for publishing the conventional way pretty much requires you find an agent to represent you to the various publishing houses. If you're a celebrity or have done something incredible (think: cut off your arm to escape a mountain) or, I suppose, if you're sleeping with a publisher, you may not need an agent. But the rest of us do.
Agents are both plentiful and blind to your desires. I've read more than one "How to land an agent" essay which suggests you should plan on submitting to somewhere between fifty and 100 agents before you find one who'll have you.
That's probably true, but I gave up around 30.
As recently as a few years ago, not having an agent and not having a publisher would have been the death of an author's ambition unless said author had a pile of cash she was willing to spend on printing her own book. As someone who used to own a pretty substantial printing company, I can tell you firsthand that printing your own book is not an inexpensive way to go.
But today, that's no longer required.
In today's world, more and more authors are self-published, partially because of the difficulty finding agents, partially because self-published authors collect a vastly higher percentage of the dollars from their book sales, and partially because it is so darned easy to do.
Read More . . .
After much too much time writing, editing, searching for agents, and worrying, my book Loss of Control is finally available.
Originally titled The Clause (see my original post from about a year ago, below) it is a mystery/suspense story about Jake Berwyn, an amateur racing driver who blames himself for the violent death of his best friend, David Reid. After discovering that David's accident was no accident, Jake becomes determined to identify his friend's killer.
His efforts embroil him in a plot which twists its way through real estate development, finance, and cell phone hacking, while Jake endures both physical and emotional threats to himself and those around him.
Resisting both his own temptations to throw in the towel, and the apathetic disinterest of the authorities, Jake's quest of fits and starts is complicated by his own very personal history with the grieving widow. The story culminates in a riveting race against time and the quickly-depleting battery of his own stolen cell phone.
Loss of Control is a 106,000-word mystery/suspense story told in the first person over a 12-day period. Set in and around Columbus, Ohio and the Mid-Ohio race track, it highlights the extent to which even close friends will go when the stakes involve sex, money, or both.
Although the story line includes some auto racing, this is not an auto racing book. If you've ever read any Dick Francis mystery (which all revolve around steeplechase riding), think of this as Dick Francis with cars in place of horses.
Hard-copy books should be available later this week.
It's a good story (if I do say so myself) which has gotten great reviews by a slew of early readers. If you give it a shot and like it, please go back to Lulu or Amazon and give it a nice review/rating.